Independence: From Accessibility to Usability

Usability Is Enabling

  • Independence: Free from the influence or control of another and Self-governing.
  • The Digital Divide: From accessibility to usability (Usability is enabling).
  • The Barriers: Design standards and government regulations (perceptions, myths, experiences).
  • Designing For Independence: Assuming you have access to the information and understand the options, can you independently act upon your decision, or are you dependent upon human assistance?

The Design Challenge

What activities prevent you from taking independent actions, due to design flaw barriers? Having the information, but not able to act upon the decision, creates dependencies.
A sighted person crossing the street will first look at the stop light, while a blind person may listen for traffic movement, search for an audible signal button or ask for assistance, but in both cases the individual is capable of walking across the street on their own power. Likewise, internet communication services (online shopping, application forms, virtual learning, touch screen kiosk, and software tools) must be designed for independent use.

Additional Resources